Benefits of using SEM and SEO together in your digital strategy

Posted on February 2, 2022 (Last Updated: February 02, 2022)

Great businesses use efficient tactics and strategies to gain results. When it comes to digital marketing strategy, it is important to not isolate the tools, but incorporate them across departments to gain the most benefits possible. In this sense, there are two digital strategies that should work in a synergy, because used together they become powerful tools. It brings great results and makes your business a successful one. These two strategies are going to be discussed below.

What are SEO and SEM

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are two different important strategies when it comes to improving a company’s performance and efficiency. 

The generally accepted difference between them is that SEO focuses on optimizing the website to rank better and get traffic from organic search. While SEM focuses on getting traffic through paid advertising and covers PPC or paid search. 

Thus, while one focuses on organic and another on paid methods, SEO and SEM are not the same thing. 

SEO - Organic traffic

This term stands for Search Engine Optimization and englobes the process of making the website better in order to get organic and free traffic. So if the website is optimized and relevant for the user, it will get a higher position for free in Google and thus will trigger more traffic. Organic results are usually placed after the ads/ paid results on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). 

It is important to incorporate SEO in your marketing strategy and get a higher position, because the top three organic results get most of the clicks. Worth noticing is that your customers are searching for business solutions on Google. If your business cannot be found on Google, you risk missing free traffic and hot leads. 

The core pillars of SEO are:

  • Keyword research
  • On page optimization - content 
  • Off page optimization - technical part
  • Link building

As seen above, SEO relies on keywords and content creation which help to get traffic flows and provide the users with the information they are seeking. Keywords represent the link between your businesses and potential customers, that help you find each other through both organic and paid results. That’s why we cannot talk about SEO in isolation, without bringing SEM into consideration. 

SEM - Paid search engine marketing

Search Engine Marketing is an essential strategy that consists of paying for placing your ads at the top of the SERP, in order to gain immediate visibility on the search engines. SEM relies on comprehensive keyword research, which is the foundation for it. Thus the ad appears when the potential customer is typing a word or phrase which matches the solution your business offers. 

The most common ads formats are: 

  • Search Ads
  • Shopping Ads 
  • Display Ads
  • Video Ads

SEM offers great control over your audience, keywords or even landing pages. Unlike SEO, with paid ads you can easily test and refine your marketing campaigns and strategies in order to gain greater results. For paid campaigns, all the data is available so it can be used for adjusting the settings.

Even if these two channels are managed separately and differ from each other, it doesn’t mean you have to use only one. The reality is that if a business wants to have a successful digital marketing strategy and plentiful results, it should integrate both SEM and SEO. 

How do SEM and SEO work together

First, it is important to remember that when a marketing strategy combines both SEM and SEO, there is a wealth of opportunities available to get high-quality traffic from potential customers. In order to achieve that, the paid media team should work in collaboration with the SEO team. This means they should both agree on the content creation strategy and keywords used to trigger potential customers to an action phase. It should not be seen in isolation. Also, the SEO team can use data from the paid media team, to know which keywords or queries drive traffic to the website and then create content around that information.Thus, with transferring SEM optimization results to SEO - there is an opportunity to optimize the keywords and phrases that convert well and are the most popular. They are the money-makers and the keyword analysis made for SEM can be useful for SEO later on. 

SEO or the website optimized according to four core pillars mentioned above is the foundation for SEM. When the website and the landing pages are well-designed, there is a higher chance of getting better conversion rates. The reason for that is, when a potential customer clicks on an ad, he/she lands on the website optimized by the SEO team. If the landing page is suggestive and provides the answer or solution to a problem, the user will stay, investigate and probably convert from potential to a lead and/or an actual customer. As mentioned above, SEO is the foundation. In order for SEM strategies to work, to drive traffic quickly and generate leads, the website should retain and convert the visitors and potential customers. 

Can you use both SEM and SEO? 

The answer is definitely yes, if you want your business to grow. It will most likely have a positive effect, as the quality of your site and quantity of online traffic improves once you combine efforts and knowledge of your SEO and SEM teams. 

There are some key benefits of using both SEM and SEO for your business. 

    • With both tactics you can strengthen your business. The right ad and a well optimized website will increase your brand image and awareness as a successful company. SEO and SEM represents the top of the iceberg, the appearance. If it strikes the customer’s attention - he’ll be more motivated to dive deeper to learn more. 
    • Great results in a short period of time. You will get more qualitative traffic and activity around your products with SEO and SEM used together compared to the situation when you use only one. 
    • You populate the SERP both in paid and organic results. It means the website and the business appears often, which gives higher chances for potential customers to reach you. 
    • Valuable data insights from SEM to supplement SEO. From paid results, there is data available about conversion rates or keywords that can help in improving the website’s performance. 
    • Retargeting.  You can target your organic website visitors with SEM campaigns, to stay at the top of their minds and increase the chances of a conversion.  


To sum up, SEO and SEM are two different strategies to consider for your business. However, they should be integrated together in order to produce a strong marketing campaign. A friendly and efficient website, more traffic and higher conversion rates, increased brand awareness - these are the valuable results that could be obtained from the synergy created by SEO and SEM techniques.


Written by Cristina Taran

Topics:tips & tricksSEOSEM

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